Are you asking the right questions about your data?

9th August 2019

Sue Macgregor, Director of Education here at Alps, has had the article below recently featured in a Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) publication discussing the importance of asking the right questions about data analysis and the quality assurance questions that might arise from data analysis.

Data analysis should be set up so that it is a quick and effective way of getting to the heart of the college priorities. It should empower staff at all levels, prompting them to reflect on their own practice. Leaders should be able to reflect on strategy, adapting and redistributing resources accordingly. It should facilitate the ability to ask insightful questions arising from their data analysis. Most importantly, it should impact directly and positively on the progress of the students in our classrooms. This paper considers the use of data in a Sixth Form context. Although it has been written by Alps, it can readily apply to any data analysis platform, internally developed or an alternative external system.

Department for Education performance tables are now very much about progress measures rather than achievement rates, and therefore we have well developed internal data analysis tools which support us in making judgements about progress throughout the academic year. There are still times when we should remain mindful about achievement. For many of our students, their university places will depend on the achievement of a certain number of UCAS points or a collection of grades.

One obvious point to note throughout the rest of this paper is that data analysis, although interesting and informative, is only a part of the drive to improve performance. Successful colleges combine effective data analysis tools with the following three elements to ensure that all of their students are making consistent progress.

You can read the rest of this article here

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